A Crash Course in Interview Preparation

By Christopher Jones Everyone loves to get this phone call: "This is Jane Doe. I'm calling to see if you would like to come in for a job interview." Your pulse races: A job interview! It isn't until the night before the interview that your stomach drops, a feeling of slight dread sets in and you ask yourself, "What am I gonna wear?" "What am I gonna say?" You've got a case of the pre-interview jitters: A good sign that you haven't spent enough time preparing. Getting ready for an interview should begin at least three days before the interview is scheduled to take place. This week, we'll run down the top things you should do before the big day arrives. The Clothes Make the Job Seeker Make sure your interview clothes are clean and pressed a few days beforehand. The last thing you want to worry about the night before an interview is pleading with your drycleaner or getting burned by a hot iron. Also, make sure you have a neutral colored umbrella on-hand in case of rain. Don't Forget Your Resumes! Make good-quality copies of your resume on a nice grade of paper. Take more copies than you will possibly need -just in case. Store the copies in a folder where they will stay clean and unwrinkled. Organize your portfolio, tear sheets, professional reference lists or any other papers you think your prospective employer would like to see. Make sure your purse or briefcase is stocked with everything else you'll need: A working pen (no pencils!), a notebook, breath mints, a comb, the umbrella I mentioned and some tissues. Practice Makes Perfect Like most things, people get better at interviewing with a little practice. Dedicate one night prior to the interview to a mock QandA. You can set this up with a friend or conduct the interview yourself with a list of frequently-asked interview questions and a mirror. Don't panic if, during the actual interview, you are not asked any of the questions you practiced. The point of practicing is to "warm up" to the process of answering questions on the fly. Do Your Homework Spend at least two days before the interview researching the company. Take notes. Memorize important facts. A little preparation goes a long way. A couple of hours researching the company and practicing answers to interview questions can give you that extra bit of confidence you need to ace the interview.

An Interview Strategy: Telling Stories
A Job Interview Is Not an Interrogation By Joe Turner If you read many books on job interviews, you'll notice that some feed you lists of interview questions that you should learn answers to. But an interview is not an interrogation; it's a conversation. Thus, I believe the best way to prepare for an interview is to come armed with a multitude of small stories about both your business and personal life. Conversation Wins the Job Competency-based interviews, as opposed to traditional interviews, have become more common today. In a traditional interview, the interviewer will ask you questions focused on whether you have the skills and knowledge needed to do the job. A competency-based interview goes further by asking you additional questions about your character and personal attributes that can better determine whether you fit their corporate culture. These are called "behavioral competencies." A competency-based interviewer will spend about half the interview on your job skills, and about half on your behavioral competencies. He or she will be looking for evidence of how you have acted in real situations in the past. So having your stories ready to go, and discussing them during a conversation between two equals, plays very well for this type of interview. The Interviewer's Priorities An employer wants to find out:

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Are you an asset or liability? In other words, will you either make money or save money for the company? Are you a team player? Will you fit into the corporate hierarchy or be like sand in the gears? Can you take and give (if appropriate) orders? Will you fit into the company culture? They don't want prima donnas.

Your Story Strategy The best way for an interviewer to get answers to the questions above is for you, the interviewee, to take the initiative. You should have several personal stories that you can tell as examples of your successes, and each story should last between 30 to 90 seconds. You should start by developing your stories around these areas:

• • • • • • •

Examples of when you either made money or saved money for your current or previous employer. A crisis in your life or job and how you responded or recovered from it. A time where you functioned as part of a team and what your contribution was. A time in your career or job where you had to overcome stress. A time in your job where you provided successful leadership or a sense of direction. A failure that occurred in your job and how you overcame it. Any seminal events that happened during your career to cause you to change direction and how that worked out for you.

Actions speak louder than words. Your actions in the past -- relayed in story form -- will tell a company much more than any generic response. Your stories will give the interviewer the tangible examples he or she seeks, and they will convey a very strong sense of your individuality, making you stand out more.

Four Don'ts When Dealing With Recruiters

By Erin Hovanec What's the first step to getting a job interview? Getting past the recruiter. Recruiters are usually your first contact with a potential employer. And they often decide whether your resume lands on the hiring manager's desk or in a far-off filing cabinet. While it's important to know the basics of what recruiters do, you also need to know what they DON'T do. After all, you don't want an inappropriate request to ruin your chances for an interview. Here are four things you shouldn't ask of a recruiter. Don't Be Overly Friendly Sure, recruiters are usually warm, friendly and helpful. After all, it's their job to put you at ease and guide you through the hiring process. But they're professional colleagues, and it's crucial that you never forget it. Think of the recruiter as a respected coworker and treat them accordingly. Be friendly, but not overly casual or familiar. It's wise to keep personal conversations, jokes and physical contact to a minimum. After a tough interview with a hiring manager, you may be relived to see a recruiter's smiling face. Don't be tempted to let your guard down though; you're still "on," even if the interview has ended. A useful rule of thumb: Don't say or do anything in front of a recruiter that you wouldn't say or do in front of your boss (or your mother). Don't Expect Career Coaching The recruiter's goal is not to help you get a job. It's to help you navigate the hiring process at one specific company. Recruiters aren't career coaches. It's not appropriate to ask them to help you craft your cover letter, edit your resume or plan your career path. You can ask questions about the company or industry in general, but try to relate your questions to the job you're being considered for. And save your best, most thoughtful questions for the hiring manager -- that's who you need to impress most. Don't Ask for Insider Information There's only one job candidate you really need to worry about: You. Though it may be hard to resist, don't ask about who you're up against for a job. Recruiters generally won't share information about other candidates. And asking for specific details about the competition makes you look insecure in your own skills. However, questions about the hiring process or the position itself are fair game. Here are a few questions you can feel comfortable asking:

• • • •

Are you still interviewing candidates? How large is the current pool of candidates? How would you describe the ideal candidate for the job? Is there anything I can do to make myself a stronger candidate?

The best way to get an edge on the competition? Make yourself a more competitive candidate. Don't Request Special Treatment Although you may wish you were, you're probably not the only candidate for the job. And, while recruiters are often happy to help, their aim is not to be your advocate to the hiring manager. Their aim is to fill a position. Never ask a recruiter to put in a good word for you with the hiring manager. If they think you're a strong candidate, they'll probably sing your praises anyway. Also, don't ask them to relay a message to the hiring manager for you. Instead of saying, "Tell So-and-So it was very nice to meet him ...," send a thank you note. Taking the initiative and speaking for yourself shows the hiring manager that you're capable, confident and conscientious. Remember, if you treat the recruiter well, chances are they'll treat you the same way.

Four Questions to Ask a Potential Manager

By Caroline Levchuck Happiness on the job sometimes comes down to one person: Your manager. Your manager can matter more than money, title or benefits. People don't always quit jobs, they sometimes quit bosses. Many workers leave a position because they're unhappy with their bosses. On the other hand, if you genuinely like and respect your boss, your job can be rewarding, fulfilling and even fun. But how can you ensure that you and your potential boss will get along? While there are no guarantees, you can often recognize a boss who's right for you -- if you ask the right questions. The Ideal Employee Do you want to know what your potential manager will expect from you? Ask her, "What's your ideal employee like?" If her ideal employee works long hours on a regular basis, expect to do the same. If her ideal employee is someone who never questions procedure, don't plan to arrive and immediately implement new ideas. If her ideal employee works independently, rest assured that you won't be micro-managed. You're likely to be happier on the job if you and your potential manager have similar working styles. After all, everyone deserves a manager who thinks that they're the ideal employee. The Skinny on the Staff

you want to work for a manager who recognizes and rewards excellence. And you need to know how a potential manager will handle it. keep in mind that a potential boss' overall attitude toward answering questions can be very telling about his management style. "How do you measure success on the job?" You may be accountable to complete projects to deadline and under budget. A Problem Solved Sooner or later. You should also ask about the typical career path for an employee who successfully meets his goals. Does he prefer to take charge and make a decision independently? Does he delegate the decision to a staff member? Or does he favor a more collaborative style of problem solving? Finally. If he's open to questions and answers thoughtfully. Or perhaps you'll need to reach a certain benchmark in your performance.You can tell a lot about your potential manager from his staff. . "Can you tell me about the people I'd be working with? How long have you worked with them?" Pay attention to how well your potential boss seems to know his staff. Ask him. and happy employees are more likely to stay put. then you need to know how a potential manager defines excellence. And that's one quality that makes for a great manager. a problem will arise. Results and Rewards Do you want to excel on the job? If so. Can he list their individual accomplishments? Is he proud of them? Note his tone and energy when he talks about his team. Ask her. After all. "What's your approach to solving problems?" Knowing how a potential manager solves problems can give you insight into his management style. he's likely also open to exploring and improving his working relationships. High turnover can be a red flag. Ask him. Does he sound upbeat and positive? Or is there a hint of frustration or disappointment in his voice? Also note how long his staff has worked with him. for example a dollar value in revenue or a percentage of satisfied customers.

You can't clam up. mention that. Don't get too detailed about your specific career plan. you're going to have speak confidently and honestly about your abilities. The bottom line: The salary question is one of the most important. When an interviewer asks you why they should hire you. I have excellent industry contacts. Then remind yourself that there's no "right" answer to these . If the interviewer presses you for a number.How to Answer the Toughest Interview Questions By Caroline Levchuck You know they're coming: Those seemingly unanswerable questions that pop up during job interviews. If growth is a goal. think about the salary you want. I have integrity. First. That's right: Stand in front of the mirror and acknowledge your abilities and accomplishments to your reflection. the future question goes something like this: "Where do you see yourself in five years?" The best tactic: Talk about your values. The 'Salary' Question Most people will tell you that whoever answers this question first loses. another value that employers prize in their employees. discuss things that are important to you professionally and how you plan to achieve them. Aim for earnest and prepare by practicing. Instead. And you need to learn it. When an interviewer asks your salary requirement. And you don't want to stutter and stammer. your salary at your most recent position and the industry-standard salary for the job. The Seemingly Silly Question If you were a tree. try first to gently deflect the question by inquiring about the salary for the position. It's sometimes hard to praise yourself. So what's a job seeker to do? The 'Future' Question Otherwise known as the "big picture" question. so you should prepare for it in advance and plan what to say. To decide on a range. But that's not necessarily true. don't panic. what kind of tree would you be? What if you were a car? Or an animal? These type of questions can bring your interview to a screeching halt. Pause and take a deep breath. The 'Why' Question There's a fine line between boastful and confident. I aggressively pursue my goals. give a range. But you should avoid sounding overly boastful. You can also talk about challenge. but after a few sessions you'll sound sincere. Tell yourself: I have a very strong work ethic.

Either way. So.because you plan to put down roots at the company.because you want to reach new heights in your career. . Interviewers usually ask these questions to see how you react under pressure and how well you handle the unexpected. you'll get it right. Or be an oak -. It's not so important what type of tree (or car.questions. be a spruce -. The job isn't hinging on whether you choose to be a spruce versus an oak. or animal) you choose as that you explain your choice in a way that makes you look favorable.

composed and in command during an interview. A ten-minute. if the interviewer will like them and more. Picture This You can make your dream a reality. lose your train of thought or perspire profusely. He's likely to assume that you'll be rock-solid on the job too. It's enough time. So how can job seekers keep cool when it counts? Relax. You can practice visualization in the days. "stress" is synonymous with "job interview. Show the interviewer that you're calm. panic. you'll sit and wait and worry. you're mentally preparing to handle the event in real life. Relax A relaxed job candidate is a confident job candidate. hours or even minutes before an interview. your heart already pounding from a last-minute dash. Then they stress over preparing for it. what to say. chatter aimlessly. Picture yourself greeting the interviewer confidently and answering tough questions with ease. Then you imagine yourself succeeding in the situation. Smile -. Use these tips to stay relaxed during an interview: • • • • • Breathing deeply and slowly (and quietly. It can make you freeze. pre-interview break will give you an opportunity to catch your breath and acclimate to your surroundings. Use your imagination to stay calm during a job interview. Visualization is a relaxation technique in which you create a mental image of a stressful or challenging situation. Sit up straight and don't cross your legs or arms. If you arrive too early. Early Warning Timing is everything: Don't cause yourself undue stress before a big interview." Job seekers stress over landing an interview. no clenching. And if you arrive too late. A few simple techniques can help calm frayed nerves and sooth interview jitters. And then they stress over what to wear. This is the stress that can cause you to blow it. and soon you'll be doing it in reality.it really is contagious! . By doing so. Practice succeeding in your imagination. you may find yourself racing in the door.How to Deal With Interview Stress By Caroline Levchuck To many job seekers. Simply close your eyes and breathe deeply. of course). Arrive about 10 minutes before the interview is scheduled to begin. but not too much time. But the worst stress of all often occurs during the interview. Keeps your hands and jaw relaxed. Speak slowly and pause for breath often.

You stumble over your words. Refocus. Now's the time to put your relaxation skills into overdrive. A quick ten-second pause can be all you need to regain your composure and get back in control. . There's an awkward silence. Take a deep breath. And then resume interviewing. And the interviewer likely won't even notice. there comes a moment that doesn't go according to plan. It's much easier to control fear and panic as it starts to build than to calm yourself down once they've begun to spiral out of control. When you feel yourself starting to panic and lose focus. Tell yourself silently that you can do this.Pause. Don't Panic In every interview. Don't panic. pause. You flub a tough question.

" advises Gail Ginder.but only when it's clear that the interviewer has decided you're the best candidate and is trying to get you to sign on. The other is to ask your interviewer . "Most companies will talk the talk. you have two options. are you kept waiting with no explanation? Does the interviewer interrupt your conversation to take phone calls? "Try to come at different times if you have multiple interviews. Mo. "If they pull back in their chair and say. Griffen has asked a prospective employer whether he can walk around the company and talk with employees about how they like their jobs. The key is to pose the question without sounding like someone who is planning to make a lot of mistakes.just observe carefully from the time you set foot in the building. Ginder advises. I would never want to make a mistake. But what happens here when people make a mistake?'"  What is a typical week like? The answer to this question can give insight into everything from how long the workdays are to how many after-hours phone calls you can expect. Use humor. may take some sleuthing. which provides human resources and career coaching and consulting services. Here are five questions that will help you decide if the company is a fit . How an employer responds to this request is almost as telling as the answers employees give. Calif.a sign that this was not a good match. "When they've decided you're the one. One employer balked . you can ask pretty much anything as long as you ask it well. you'll get a wider variety of answers . But getting the answer to that question. along with others that will help you determine if you'll be happy at the company. suggests that in informal conversations with employees. That way you'll see if the mood around the building changes with the time of day.  What happens when people make mistakes? The answer to this will give you insight into the company's management and culture. 'If I were lucky enough to be offered this job." When you're considering taking a new job. When you arrive for your interview. in Lee's Summit.and some unconventional ways to find the answers:  What makes employees join this company and stay here? You can always ask your potential manager this question in an interview. But if you ask the employees you see while walking around the premises." says Griffen. Leslie G. Vic Snyder. "Say. . 'You want what?' it's probably an indication that they might not be being straight up with you. They'll talk about how important employees are.  How are people treated here? You may not even need to ask anyone this . Twice the employers gave him the go-ahead. a leadership coach with the Claros Group in Healdsburg. it's important to find out how a potential employer treats employees. you pair this question with one about how often employees take their full vacations. who is now principal of The Griffen Group. or ask employees who aren't involved in hiring.  What are the unspoken rules? For this and other questions that are best asked of employees. as Griffen did.and possibly more honest ones.How to Get Answers to 5 Key Questions Before Taking a Job By Margaret Steen Three times during his career. senior career counselor at the University of Washington's Center for Career Services in Seattle." Ginder says. One is to use your network to find employees who work at the company but aren't involved in hiring you. You can ask it of an interviewer late in the interview process. which told Griffen they were confident their employees were happy.

you can diffuse the situation immediately and move on to more important tasks -. since it allows you to provide a tactful answer without sacrificing your rights. The challenge for you is to figure out what to say while you're sitting in that chair. Many of the illegal questions that interviewers ask are unintentional -.related question they can ask is if you're over the age of 18. showing enthusiasm and laughing at the interviewer's bad jokes.like landing that job.How to Handle Illegal Interview Questions By Todd Anten Interviews are already stressful enough. With some rare exceptions. a smart answer would be. try to figure out what the interviewer REALLY wants to know. citizen (which is an illegal question). The good news is that interviewers are not allowed to ask you your age during an interview. faced with an illegal question. the answer is yes. But when you suspect you've been asked an illegal interview question. the only age. though. the interviewer will likely realize his or her gaffe and immediately retract the question. For example. Don't answer the question. according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).. however.in fact. if you tactfully point out the question is illegal. However. Refuse to answer the question. • • An Age-Old Question Recent reports say that workers are planning to hold jobs well into their senior years. if you know in advance what kind of illegal questions are most apt to sneak into an interview. it's best to rephrase the question into a legal one and then answer it. Inform the interviewer that the question doesn't seem to be legal or relevant to the specific requirements of the job.. this has resulted in an increase in complaints from older workers of age discrimination in the workplace." In cases like these.strong job skills. This displays flexibility and composure -. If you don't mind providing the information and you don't want to make waves. Be forewarned. stress levels can shoot even higher.it could come back to haunt you.S. Fortunately. Three Ways to Answer Illegal Interview Questions Most interviewers are not out to discriminate against job applicants. you can respond to the question and move on to the next one. Many even plan to hold off retirement until their 70s or 80s in order to continue bringing in paychecks. "If you mean to ask if I am legally authorized to work for you. if the interviewer asks if you are a U. One thing to keep in mind: The EEOC's Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 only protects workers who are 40 years old and older from age discrimination and in workplaces with 20 or more employees. Married . but answer the intent behind the question. Keep in mind. Between promoting your skills. This is usually the best option. You have three basic options: • Just answer the question. that such a direct response should really be saved for questions that are offensive or deeply troubling. some local governments have laws that also enforce age discrimination rules for younger applicants and smaller workplaces. With Children? . To answer the intent behind the question. you have plenty to concentrate on. that you should only answer the question if you truly are comfortable providing the information -. Unfortunately.

ethnicity and religion might sneak into an interview.html . protection from discrimination applies equally to male candidates. my colleague caught herself and told the candidate that she didn't have to answer the question. be aware -. And as their numbers grow.. you have such an interesting name! What does it mean?" she asked a candidate with a beautiful name that was obviously of non-English origin. go to the EEOC "Filing a Charge" Web page here: http://www.Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from making employment decisions based on such factors. interviewers are not allowed to ask if you are a U. children and pregnancy. If you are certain that an interviewer asked you an illegal interview question with the intent of using your answer as a basis for a hiring decision. they can ask if you are legally authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis. the EEOC recommends that you file a charge of discrimination if you feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of any of the categories below: • • • • • • • Race Color Sex Religion National origin Age Disability To file a charge. many proud parents enjoy telling stories about their children. While laws can vary from state to state. according to the Department of Labor. religion or national origin. But it does show how subtly the issues of race. it's time to talk to the pros. The EEOC is the government agency in charge of handling complaints of workplace discrimination. your family status. "Are you willing to relocate?"). A Race for a Job A recruiter friend of mine told me a story of how she accidentally asked someone an illegal interview question. your future plans for children or your child care accommodations. But to avoid potential problems. To find your local branch.eeoc. Fortunately. citizen or ask where you were born. Yes. so do the potential pitfalls they may face during an interview. So what can employers ask? Questions that deal directly with the job requirements (e. "Oh.S. Basically.g. color. For instance. workforce. While illegal interview questions surrounding relationships. contact your local EEOC office.Women make up nearly half of the U.S. according to Nolo. especially when asked about marriage. err on the side of silence. However. but you can't deny that it does occasionally happen. Somebody Call the EEOC! Discrimination is an ugly word. you should be suspicious if you are asked any questions about your marital status.com. So if you are asked about your race.gov/facts/howtofil. and there may be a temptation to trade toddler stories with a friendly interviewer who has a family picture on his or her desk. marriage and children are generally more problematic for female job candidates.

For more information on these limits. Alternatively. . contact your local EEOC branch. remember that as long as you are aware of what's fair game and what isn't. you'll be one step ahead. While illegal questions do add an extra level of stress to an interview. find a lawyer and have them help you with your complaints.Keep in mind that there are time limits by which you must file a complaint.

You should direct specific questions about the job.) The recruiter is also the best person to answer questions about the hiring process. Asking questions shows that you're interested in the job. "Yes!" This is the easiest interview question out there. The Recruiter: The 'Big Picture' Person It's the recruiter's job to identify strong candidates and guide them through the hiring process.no matter whom you're meeting. Some questions to ask the recruiter: • • • How would you describe the company culture? What type of employees tend to excel at this company? Can you tell me more about the interview process? The Hiring Manager: Your Future Boss The hiring manager will likely supervise you if you get the job. "Do you have any questions for me?" You say . An excellent question for a recruiter might be inappropriate for an executive.. Think of the recruiter as the "big picture" person. Also. 401(k) or anything else that might make you seem more interested in the compensation than the company. you can ask them some specifics about the job. Don't ask about salary. Most important. (Save very specific questions about the job for the hiring manager. They can give you an overview of the company and the department as a whole. Some questions to ask the hiring manager: • • • What are the most important skills for the job? How would you describe your ideal candidate? What's a common career path at the company for someone in this role? The Executive: The Industry Expert Senior managers and executives are likely to be most knowledgeable about the latest happenings in their industry. its responsibilities and its challenges to them. depending on who's doing the interviewing. You may also want to ask what kind of candidate they're seeking. It also gives you a chance to show how knowledgeable you are about the position and the industry.It's Your Turn: What to Ask an Interviewer By Erin Hovanec The interviewer asks you. And you don't want to ask your potential boss something that's best suited for a future coworker. If you'll be working closely with an executive. vacation.. it lets you highlight why you're the perfect candidate. But you should focus most . You have to choose your questions carefully. there are certain questions you should never ask early in the interview process -. They're the most knowledgeable people about the position and its requirements. This article shares questions appropriate for every type of interviewer. though. Always say yes.

don't expect inside information -. However.the interviewer most likely to "tell it how it is. Some questions to ask a potential coworker: • • • What's a typical day like in the department? How would you describe the work environment at the company? What's the most enjoyable part of your job? What's the most challenging part? ." A potential colleague may be most candid about the job.and certainly don't ask for it.of your questions on the future of the company and the industry. its challenges and the work environment. This is your chance to show off your industry knowledge! Some questions to ask a senior manager or executive: • • • How do you think this industry will change in the next five years? What do you think gives this company an edge over its competitors? What's the company's biggest challenge? How is it planning to meet that challenge? The Coworker: The Straight-Talker Some interviews will also include a meeting with a potential coworker -.

Specialist Leader at Deloitte Consulting. Get to know your future employer. "Your resume and application are fair game. Making that powerful statement that you're the best of all the candidates requires the three Ps: Preparation. Once you arrive." he explains.Mastering the Interview By Sean Bosker The job interview is your proving ground. emphasizes this point. the better your chances are of being remembered. the more prepared you are. Michele Stagg. has been directly involved in hiring hundreds of candidates. helpful. Describe your experiences that tie in to your skills or qualifications. Presentation and Perception. Stagg agrees. Effective presentation includes being in the right place. says she is consistently impressed when candidates work their skills into the context of company news. upright and open body language shows self confidence and interest. Project yourself as someone who is thoughtful. If you have qualifications in financial analysis. give examples of projects you worked on where your analysis was necessary." Read industry trade magazines. at the right time. you could inadvertently tell your interviewer that you're not right for the job. With 35 years of experience in HR. and prepared. particularly in terms of what the company is doing. Presenting yourself as an active problem solver will show an employer that you can contribute and succeed in the role. According to psychologist Albert Mehrabian. the better the chances are that you'll succeed. introduce yourself to the receptionist and turn off that cell phone." says Ackerson." Another important part of preparation is making sure you look the part. visit the company web site. Choosing what you wear is so important that it deserves its own article . "Give very specific examples of your qualifications. the Director of Human Resources at Banana Republic." During introductions give a firm handshake and then take a seat facing the interviewer. "Having a phone go off during an interview is a real turn off. Positive. more than half of our communication is nonverbal or body language.Interview in Style. Stagg agrees that this technique can make a fantastic impact. tell me how those will help you meet the requirements of the role you might fill in our company. "There's nothing worse than getting a call from someone who is hung up in traffic or went to the wrong office. When you go over your resume focus on your accomplishments instead of reiterating job descriptions. PRESENTATION IS PARAMOUNT Keep in mind that you are marketing yourself to everyone you meet. Be prepared to demonstrate what you know about the company and the industry. Peter Ackerson." . the better. the place where you must demonstrate why you are the best person for the job. and do a company search on Yahoo! Finance to find current news about your prospective employer. "The more an informed candidate can tie past experience to the requirements of the job they are interviewing for. If you're late for the interview. The more people you leave with a good impression. Candidates should study themselves and the company with whom they're interviewing. Even better. PREPARE PREPARE PREPARE When you walk into an interview. But you should also be ready to talk about more than just yourself. Warren Davis. Memorize everything you put on your resume and cover letter and be prepared to explain each item. When it comes to job interviews. he's seen it all. "Body language is exceptionally important. the Director of Recruiting and Employment for RadioShack.

To that end. the VP of Marketing at HotJobs elaborates. they want you to show them why you will succeed with their company. and demonstrates that your are a careful listener. Asking the right questions can also demonstrate your ability to think strategically. . or restating the question in your own words saves you from wasting your interviewer's time. Make certain you understand what is being asked. "When your interviewer asks you a complicated question. and help you decide if the position is right for you. the sooner the search can end." A clarifying question. The sooner they hire you." They don't want you to fail. Susan Vobejda. Peter Ackerson describes his attitude going into an interview as one of "hopeful skepticism.PERCEPTION IS KEY The best way to know if your interviewer is getting what he needs is to ask questions. then you need to speak up. Many candidates are so intimidated by the interview. Stagg suggests ending the interview with this question: "What are you looking for in a candidate to fill this role?" If the answer turns out to be something that doesn't match your expectations. they forget that the interviewer has a stake in seeing the candidate succeed. don't launch into your answer straightaway.

Six Common Job-Interview Questions Try These Sample Questions to Help Get Ready By Tom Musbach One of the easiest ways to build confidence before a job interview is to prepare answers to questions you might be asked. it might be of little value for the job at hand. take the time to formulate answers to each question." "Can you describe a previous work situation in which you . or areas of growth. and specifics on what you have done to improve yourself in those areas. describing your behavior in specific situations that demonstrate important skills that the job requires. "What did your most recent boss suggest as areas for improvement in your last performance review?" Lindsay Olson. "Employers want to know they're hiring someone with the maturity to accept responsibility and the wherewithal to . handling a problem coworker. accountant. so think broadly to include ideas about supervision. management styles. interviewers often use some general questions to assess candidates. overcoming a negotiation deadlock. focusing on specific tasks and accomplishments. Olson recommends building on your answer to include "how you have improved. As part of your interview preparation. how flexible they are with their schedules." says Olson. founder of Paradigm Staffing Solutions. and your workday routine.. Six common questions are listed below. suggests tailoring your "strengths" answer to skills that will benefit the prospective employer. and interviewers often ask it indirectly. Though you may have a knack for building gingerbread houses. When it comes to weaknesses. or juggling multiple tasks on a project. according to Yves Lermusi. but what the interviewer is looking for is your behavior on the job. Bob Hancock. Your answer could focus on resolving a crisis.. if possible. "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" This is one of the most well-known interview questions. along with insights from several recruitment professionals about how to answer. highlight resolutions or actions that might have relevance to the job you're interviewing for. senior recruiter for video game publisher Electronic Arts. "Be prepared to tell the truth." "How do you handle mistakes?" The best strategy for this general question is to focus on one or two specific examples in the past and. or legal secretary. without speaking negatively about past employment. CEO of Checkster." "What is your ideal work environment?" This question is not about whether you prefer a cubicle or an office. a company that offers career and talent checkup tools. Whether you're applying for a position as a web programmer. The theory behind this type of question is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. a firm specializing in hiring public relations professionals. and how creative they are. so you'll increase your chances for success if you prepare for them in advance. ?" This question comes in many forms. says that he uses this question with candidates because it can give "a sense of their work habits. "The key to responding well is preparing real job examples. as in." "Why did you leave your last position?" "Interviewers will always want to know your reasoning behind leaving a company ? particularly short stints.

remedy their own mistakes. or improving resources." she says. "and demonstrate your ability to do the same as a future employee." says Debra Davenport. "What is your most notable accomplishment?" Paradigm Staffing's Olson suggests that candidates think of three or four accomplishments and quantify what their actions meant in terms of increasing revenues. saving resources. a master professional mentor and columnist for the Business Journal in Phoenix. "Being able to quantify your achievements in your career will launch you ahead of the rest." .

Tell anyone who has access to the space that you are not to be disturbed unless catastrophe strikes. (Don't believe it? Try smiling when you're in a bad mood. It's your prerogative to wear sweats. those people are wrong. Sounds of Silence A phone interview isn't just about speaking. stand up.Phone Interviews: Tips to Get Called Back By Caroline Levchuck Some people think phone interviews are easier than in-person ones. Finally. you can both literally be on the same page. Make a conscious effort to sound upbeat and enthusiastic. Did your response prompt additional questions or make the interviewer hesitate? . quiet place where you can focus. thus. TV or anything that will draw your attention away from the interview. Once you've scheduled a phone interview. And. It will help you stay calm and sound more relaxed. To listen carefully. And interviewers can easily hear distraction over the phone. it's easy to tell if an interviewer is tuning you out if you notice them staring off into space or sending messages on their BlackBerry. you (and the interviewer) are missing out on important visual cues. hearing becomes sharper. Smile. Make sure you're not near a computer. Standing can make your voice sound more powerful. On the phone. Often. particularly if you're interviewing from your home. You should also have a copy of your resume so that when the interviewer refers to your experience. distracted or underwhelmed? Find a Happy Place In the absence of sight. have a pen and paper handy to take notes during your interview. This technique can also help you read the interviewer's mood.and. And always remember to breathe. Next. because the interviewer can't see you. consider your attire. how can a job seeker really dial into an interviewer's demeanor to tell if she's bored. So. You can't read the interviewer's body language. Speak Easy As soon as you answer the phone. It's about listening. you'll sound more professional.) If you feel your confidence wane.and smiling can put you in a better state of mind. Interviewers can hear you smile -. In person. or bored and distracted? Is the interview conversational? Are questions and answers flowing easily? Listen hard after your responses. Is he interested and enthusiastic. she's listening even more carefully. locate a calm. but may we suggest something closer to business attire? You'll feel more professional -. try closing your eyes when the interviewer is speaking so you can focus on what is being said. you're on! You want to start your phone interview off right.

Close your eyes while listening.If the interviewer seems distracted." get back on the phone and get better prepared. Practice Makes Perfect The best way to prepare for a phone interview: Practice. decide what works best. smile while speaking. use one of the powerful questions you were saving for the "Do you have any questions?" section of the interview. stand while talking. "Would I hire this person?" If the answer isn't a resounding "yes. ask yourself. You should also consider taping the conversation and listening to yourself afterward. . Have a friend play the role of interviewer on the phone. Test different techniques while you're talking to her. With her feedback. You may be very surprised by what you hear. Finally. A well-chosen question can re-engage him and put the interview back on track. Provide her with some practice questions to ask. Give her a copy of your resume and have her come up with her own questions too.

trimming your nails) the day before the interview if possible. Make sure your outfit is clean and neatly pressed and take care of other time-consuming chores (polishing your shoes. Floor 10. references and directions. such as onions and garlic. Have Interview. Eyes and Ears Are Everywhere When it comes to interviewing. In fact. Your interview starts in the parking lot. so be conscious of your surroundings. Make sure you know how to get to your interview in advance. If you're lucky. you'll need to find your way to Lot 8. You don't need to have a huge meal. Make sure you eat before the interview.so be sure you know how to get there. With so much to do.Minor Matters That Make Your Interview By Erin Hovanec Preparing for an interview can be stressful -. You might include copies of your resume. Also. Will Travel The day of the big interview is not the time to try out a new shortcut or investigate an unfamiliar area. Whatever you plan to eat before the interview should be followed by some mouthwash and a good brushing. find out exactly where you'll need to go when you arrive at the company. If your interview isn't until later in the day. Getting Your Interview Gear Ready Lay out your clothing in advance. If you're not so lucky. Just Call Me "Dragon Breath" Your parents were right: You don't do as well on an empty stomach. you'll walk through the front door and find the receptionist waiting. Room 125 -. But a light meal or snack will ensure that your stomach doesn't start rumbling loudly just as you're about to discuss your most brilliant accomplishment. brainstorming answers to "trick" questions and preparing your portfolio.and time-consuming. where you will be sure not to forget them. Suite D. You don't want to be frantically searching for a missing sock or clean shirt on the day of the interview. You can spend days researching a company. Any onlooker could be one of your . it's easy to forget the practical details that can distinguish a successful interview from a tragic one. a heavy meal or one loaded with carbs can make you feel sluggish and lethargic. gather all the other important materials you'll need for the interview in one place. Make a practice run the day before if necessary. a little paranoia can be a good thing. Building 9. steer clear of stinky bards. Also. This article focuses on the minor matters that job seekers often overlook before they sit down in the interview hot seat.

This isn't the time to complain about the "funny smell in the lobby" or a long wait for an elevator. from the security guard to the receptionist. Be courteous and professional to everyone you meet. If you make small talk with strangers.interviewers. turn off your cell phone. . be positive and pleasant. Act accordingly. Lastly.

don't wait until your interviewer asks you if you have any questions. A Day in the Life As your bad interview lumbers on. Make eye contact at all times.those with whom you'll work closely. Talk specifically about how you have the skills and knowledge for the position. Again. that may seem next to impossible.. ask questions along the way. just do it anyway.on the interviewer's part. show enthusiasm and interest in his responses (no matter how boring or brief they may be). Try to discover what his professional aspirations are. although it may seem awkward... . or even just folks you pass during your tour. Stony silences. Inquire as to how he came to work at the company. Enough About Me. Shoes shined. doesn't mean they're a good interviewer. Show and Tell If you still need to buy more face time with your interviewer. The best interviews are often those in which you're able to forge a real connection with your interviewer. Are there many meetings? Do people work on projects in teams? Ask your interviewer what qualities he thinks the ideal candidate for this position would have. "I wanted to take a moment to let you know how my experience really complements this position. What would your key responsibilities be? What is a typical day like? What time does the workday begin and end? Would you need to be available after hours or on weekends? Is there any travel involved? Inquire as to which coworkers you'd be working with. But if he doesn't know what he's doing. someone in management. at the first awkward pause. even if it's about how long the company has been at that particular location. But rather than questions. Toot Your Own Horn A poor interviewer will likely omit asking you many of the "right" questions. At all times. there are awkward pauses. Do not ramble or your interviewer could lose interest.. Ask about where he started his career and what attracted him to this particular industry or area of expertise. You can preface your comments by saying something to the effect of. particularly those about how your experience makes you a great fit for the position.Turning the Tables on a Bad Interviewer By Caroline Levchuck You're wearing your best suit. the only way you'll get to point this out is to just go ahead and do so. Try to get your interviewer to introduce you to other people who work there -." Be direct and to the point.unless you start asking questions about your interviewer and his career. There's a seeming lack of interest in the entire event -. Don't let his ignorance sabotage your interview or your chances at landing the position. Resume in hand. Even if there's no good time to do it. Just because someone is interviewing you. You've prepared for any interview question that could come your way. So. ask him how he likes it. Ask about how people work and projects are managed. ask for a tour of the offices or facility. Rather. ask him to describe the position for which you're applying in rich detail.

. Finally. Thank him graciously for his time.Now is an ideal time to use the knowledge you have about the company to offer up insightful observations and flattering acknowledgments about the organization and how it's run. be sure to ask your interviewer when he anticipates making a decision. both in person and in a prompt thank-you letter. Reiterate your interest in the position and your enthusiasm for the company.

Answering questions. Asking intelligent questions of your own. During a meal interview. things can really get messy. placing your napkin on your lap. . it is crucial for you to learn the basics of table manners -. They can prove distracting when others are trying to talk. read the definitive book on the subject. but also on your demeanor. avoid bards that could cause embarrassment: • • • • • Stay away from bards you eat with your hands. Most importantly. But you shouldn't necessarily order the most expensive meal on the menu either. Her guidelines are among the most comprehensive for displaying proper behavior in almost any situation. To brush up on basic table manners. Appearing pleasant and relaxed. This article will provide you with tips on how to ace a meal interview.not on what you're eating. sandwiches or corn on the cob. avoid alcohol at all costs. To excel at a meal interview. such as hamburgers. chewing with your mouth closed and treating the staff with respect. so don't worry too much about the price. you're not only evaluated on your answers. You need to be sharp during your interview. Instead. Meal interviews may seem less formal than office interviews. How Much Should You Order? The best thing about a meal interview: It's free. but they are just as important. They can give you bad breath.all those rules about keeping your elbows off the table. such as spaghetti or ribs. Wine or beer might lead you to make a sloppy mistake. It could make an end-of-the-interview handshake quite sloppy. can splatter or take a lot of concentration to eat correctly. Don't order crunchy or loud bards. Almost all meals that take place during an interview will be charged to the company. Avoid bards that are messy. you must juggle: • • • • • • Listening to the interviewer. But when you throw a full table of food into the equation. stick with a meal that can easily be cut up into small pieces. During a typical interview. Can you hold an intelligent conversation? What are your manners like in a social setting? Are you a pleasant person to talk to? In order to ace a meal interview. onions or other bards that harbor strong odors. you want the interviewer to focus on what you're saying -. such as celery or potato chips. Don't order a meal heavy on garlic. Watching the interviewer for positive feedback.How to Ace a Meal Interview By Todd Anten Interviews can often be a multi-tasking nightmare. Foods to Avoid When trying to impress an interviewer during a meal. Emily Post's Etiquette. Talking about yourself confidently yet modestly.

Express how much you enjoyed talking to the interviewer and ask what the next stage is in the interviewing process. when you get the chance. you're expected to do a lot of talking. A meal interview. don't forget to ask for the job. . you can stick to the middle of the road. It's almost never expected of you as a candidate. you should not offer to pay for the meal. you won't be ravenously hungry throughout the entire meal -. throw the interviewer a question. you may feel pressured to talk so much that you don't even get the chance to eat your bard." Alternatively. You're generally safe saying. And never ask for a doggy bag. you never want the interviewer to be eating alone. you should do the same. Finally. Then. So when you're at a meal interview. This will allow you to eat some bard as you listen to their answer -. "The bard was delicious" to show your appreciation.and simultaneously give you the appearance of being a candidate who has done their homework.So how much should you order? And how expensive should it be? Here's the safest rule: Follow the interviewer's lead. You should NOT solve this problem by talking with your mouth full. Reaffirm how much you like the company and how much you want the position. is slightly different. That way. Rather. Finish With Flourish Ending an in-office interview usually involves thanking the interviewer. "Wow. that's even better. If you can order the same meal as the interviewer. Order something you know you'll like (now isn't the time to get creative) and try to stay near to the price of the meal the interviewer ordered. I think I'll have the same thing. shaking their hand and heading out to the elevator.just in case you don't get the chance to eat as much as you usually do. The Nightmare of Eating and Talking During an interview. however. So if your host decides to finish up with some coffee or dessert. you must remember to thank the interviewer for the meal -. One more note: It's usually a good idea to have a snack before you go to a meal interview. Instead. First. Finally. that sounds good. come to the interview armed with some questions to ask the interviewer.and it couldn't hurt to throw in.

network. the purpose is to gather information. Instead. insider's perspective on a certain industry or career? Get it in an informational interview. company and specific position. What experience is useful for advancement in a particular career. Professional/industry organizations. And. an informational interview is one of the most useful yet underutilized parts of a job search. you demonstrate that you appreciate -. Most are too busy to meet with someone just to chat about careers.especially important for job seekers who are new to the workforce or changing careers. network. Former colleagues and coworkers. What educational background is helpful. Informational interviews can give job seekers insight into the following areas: • • • • What a typical day on the job entails. You probably won't get far by cold-calling Human Resources.the interviewer's time. Informational Interviewing Defined An informational interview is a brief meeting (usually about half an hour) between someone researching a career or industry and someone working in that career or industry. you can learn firsthand about an industry. Also called a research interview. The most important thing to remember about informational interviewing: Its primary goal is not to get you a job. what rewards and challenges a given job presents.Mastering the Informational Interview By Erin Hovanec Want an up-close. You can also get personalized feedback on your skills and experience while making valuable professional contacts -. . career or company. which can then be used to make career decisions and conduct a successful job search. Here's who you should hit up for contacts: • • • • College alumni associations. Family and friends. You Can Never Know Enough The key to a successful informational interview is preparation. During an informational interview. By preparing. Contacts Are the Key How do you find people willing to meet with you for an informational interview? Network. Recruiters spend their time meeting with candidates about open positions.and respect -. Know the basics about the interviewer's industry.

A traditional interview is about what you can offer the interviewer. In short. And smart job seekers treat it as such.Prepare a list of questions. arrive 10-15 minutes early and bring copies of your resume. It's the polite way to recognize someone who's been generous with their time and knowledge. Dress appropriately. Finally. And. Remember. but it's still an interview. but don't dominate the interview. . Be assertive in asking questions. An informational interview is about what the interviewer can offer you (in terms of knowledge). be sure to send a thank-you note after the interview. avoiding those with simple "yes" or "no" answers in order to keep the interview conversational and informative. even if you don't normally send one. It's Still an Interview An informational interview can seem more informal and casual than an interview for a specific job. be sure to take your resume. do all the things that interviewers expect. portfolio and business cards to informational interviews just in case the interviewer volunteers to distribute them to his or her contacts in the industry.

save your receipts. to prepare for the following day's interview and to handle any last-minute emergencies. samples of your work and a list of references. assuming that you'll be able to find a dry cleaner or have time to iron it before the interview.that includes grooming products as well as what you plan to wear to the interview. etc. deodorant. There's all the regular anxiety of a job interview with the added frustrations of packing. Women should pack: A blouse. hose/slip. the long-distance interview is as necessary as it is burdensome. Still. etc. extreme weather or bad directions. razor. Who Pays? Discuss reimbursement with the potential employer prior to setting out on your trip. Always pack a back-up outfit in case of an emergency spill. don't forget to take extra copies of your resume. it's critical to build buffer time into each leg of the trip. Some companies will pay for the hotel. comb. low-heel shoes. This will give you time to wind down after your trip. If the employer is picking up the tab. Staying Ahead of the Clock When planning the long-distance interview. Pack these someplace where they will stay clean and wrinkle-free. Arrive at the airport at least two hours early. Will Travel Be sure to pack all the things you will need for interview day -. Plan to be at the interview at least an hour early in case of traffic.) Have Resumes. . polished shoes. catching flights and finding your way around an unfamiliar place. as online job boards make it easier to find jobs anywhere in the world.Taking Your Show on the Road By Christopher Jones Few situations offer as much opportunity for disaster as the long. You may need to hire a car or arrange for a rental. T-shirt. dark socks. Even if you're paying. razor.distance interview. you'll want to hang onto your receipts as you might be able to write the trip off as a tax deduction. Don't cram your interview outfit into a suitcase. toothbrush. deodorant. tie. suit. pant/skirt suit. Hang the outfit in a garment bag and be sure to carry it on the plane with you. belt. brush/comb. Others will expect you to bart the bill. (Keep in mind that the city you're traveling to may not have public transportation that will get you to the interview location. Men should pack: A pressed shirt. toothbrush. airfare and other expenses. Plan to arrive in the city where the interview will take place at least a day ahead of time. And. Be clear on what they will pay for and what they won't. of course.

express how exciting and challenging you think the role would be -. For example. but not aggressive.and what a good fit you'd be for it. Also. Start by saying how impressed you are with the company and the people you've met. your final words and gestures should be enthusiastic and confident. You don't need the distraction. the crappy hotel they booked you in or -. Thank her by name and firmly shake her hand when saying goodbye. So. No Rest for the Travel Weary Be prepared to meet a lot of people. Smile and be polite anyway. It's All in the Delivery Are you unsure how to close a job interview? Take your cue from the interviewer. pay attention not only to what the interviewer says but also to how she says it. no matter how the interview behaves. and it's coming to a close.the fact that you're eating up your vacation days. Rehearse your closing so that you are not fumbling over your words. This will ensure that your strengths will be one of the last things that the interviewer hears -. Reiterate your interest in the job. You don't want to blow it by saying the wrong thing on your way out the door. During the interview. always be confident.If at all possible.or some other local point of interest -. Then transition into why you'd be a good fit for the position. End Notes You should end your job interview on an enthusiastic. Instead.if you're employed -.the chances are slim. keep in mind that few of the people you'll meet are going to take into consideration the hours you spent at the airport. tone of voice and level of formality. You'll want to sound smooth and natural. but try not to sound anxious or desperate. If a company is flying you in.helping her to remember them.not with family or friends. if you thought you could sneak a trip to the beach -. stay in a hotel -. Closing an Interview: Tips to Seal the Deal By Caroline Levchuck Your job interview has been going great. But. ask the interviewer if there's anything else you can do to show your strengths as a candidate. And then tailor your closing remarks accordingly. not boastful. note. chances are they'll want to introduce you to as many folks as possible. Look her in the eye when speaking. The final few minutes are crucial. The Next Step . Finally. To leave a good impression with the interviewer. you can offer to send samples of your work if appropriate. Accentuate the Positive Use the final few minutes of your job interview to emphasize the skills that make you right for the job. Notice her body language. They'll also expect to take up the lion's share of your time.

. or would he rather that you email him? Not only will this information help reduce post-interview anxiety.Don't leave a job interview without knowing the next step in the hiring process. it also shows the interviewer that you're thorough and conscientious. Can you call him on the phone. For example. will the company be calling candidates back for another round of interviews? Are they planning to check references? When do they anticipate that a hiring decision will be made? You may also want to ask the recruiter how he would prefer you to follow up with him.

make sure consistency is the bedrock of your brand. and colleagues -. or talents isn't a great thing. so what makes you different? It's not enough to be as dependable as everyone or anyone else. it alluded to the fact that IBM was not always the "best" or "most innovative" or "most anything" for that matter. With a good brand. When applied to you. Novelty OK.in the mind of the marketplace. Brands always have substantive identifiable differences -. I believe that all brands have a boldness about them. also applies to individuals as well as to products and organizations. and I've identified the DNA that makes up a good brand. To get you started on your journey of ongoing individual brand development. dependable. I find it helpful to think about a reputation as a personal brand. Even if a brand is quiet.depend on you for? What kind of "sure thing" are you exactly? Whatever you decide distinguishes you in the marketplace of talent. I work with corporate clients in the area of brand development. or puts them off? DNA. it is seldom a desirable attribute for the world of commerce. the question becomes: What can others -. abilities. there are never any unpleasant surprises. As a first step toward marketing yourself better. Attitude. DNA is. contemplate these three concepts. You can count on a brand to help you quickly sort through an unlimited list of options to identify "a sure thing." In the old days. I call it the brand's predisposition to the world.presents itself to the world. but many people don't take the time to nurture it. Attitude is how the brand -.your customers. there was a sales adage that went something like this: "Nobody ever got in trouble for purchasing IBM. It is about the vibe a brand puts out." or "organization. the basis which guides the development of a brand. What makes you different (or better)? While weird may work for celebrities. which form a similar acronym: Dependability A good brand is consistent. inc. employer. coincidentally. For a difference to be valuable to the brand. it must be valuable to the customer. It is more than a combination of novelty and dependability. .Develop Your Personal Brand By Mark Sanborn Having a good professional reputation is an obvious key to success. Developing your own unique brand is considered not a luxury but an essential for future employability and success. and safe. It's about the demeanor and flavor and orientation. Novelty. take some time soon to write out the DNA of your brand. Attitude This is the most nebulous part of a brand. those attributes are expressed to the marketplace boldly and definitively."you.perceptually if not in fact -. What is your attitude? Have you considered it and identified it? Is the attitude of your brand something that draws others to it. Dependability. Or they don't know how. either. an acronym." If you aren't old enough to recall exactly what that meant." -. but being a generalist without any discernible specialized skills. This DNA. inc. but it was a dependable brand. Being a generalist isn't a bad thing.

. This handy little book presents 50 specific ideas you can use for distinguishing yourself as an employee or potential employee.For more ideas about personal branding. check out the book "The Brand You 50" by business guru Tom Peters.

You show up late. Also. All avoidable mistakes. Don't panic -. . Stop and ask if your answer is going in the direction they're looking for. Be sure to prepare your questions in advance and make sure they are appropriate. try changing tactics -. The first step: Smile. Maybe you misunderstood the question. ask if the interviewer has any concerns or questions regarding you as a candidate. If you still feel like the interview is going poorly. Smiling also helps increase your energy and project confidence -. If you relax your shoulders and give a big ol' grin.you can save this interview..all plusses in an interview.Five Ways to Rescue a Dying Interview By Todd Anten There are many ways for an interview to go wrong. no matter what you do or say. That doesn't mean you have to struggle -. and so will the interviewer. That way. you can respond to any worries directly.just ask the interviewer for some clarification. Sometimes.and ask the interviewer a few questions of your own. perhaps giving you a clue to what he or she is looking for. Ask the Interviewer Questions This is known as the "switcheroo. you'll feel more comfortable .. there are other steps you can take. there simply isn't a clear explanation for why an interview isn't going well. cut your answer short and get some feedback. you can avoid talking about the wrong things and begin talking about the right things. While smiling is a good start to turning an interview around. You accidentally insult the interviewer's mother." If you feel that you just aren't giving the right answers to an interviewer's questions. That way. Or maybe the question wasn't phrased clearly. however. If you momentarily switch the focus from yourself to the interviewer. The key point to remember: If an interviewer is getting bored or appears distracted. Sometimes. it will give you a chance to regroup and compose yourself. an interview just fizzles. Body language plays an important part in an interview. Some examples: • • • What's your favorite thing about working at this company? How would you describe the working environment here? What's a typical day like in the department? Get Feedback If an interviewer seems bored or cold while you're answering a question. There's a stain on your shirt. all is not lost. it will make the interviewer do some talking.

the interviewer will see right through your charade. Or perhaps. then follow this advice: Just do your best and move on. So to put an interviewer in a better mood. such as saying how friendly everyone seems to be. proving you're well prepared. the view from the window -. the office's location. If you suddenly begin gushing about how GREAT the interviewer's haircut is. offer a compliment.Flattery Will Get You Everywhere Everyone likes to feel good about themselves. Paying a compliment also indicates you are a positive person. since it will offer you a chance to show that you did research on the company before the interview. Say a nice word or two about the company. You May Not Be the Problem If you feel like you've done everything possible to succeed in your interview but you're still getting the cold shoulder. many of which have nothing to do with you. too obvious or too personal. Even interviewers. A note of caution: Your compliments should not be too numerous. So remember to trust yourself and not let it get you down. or perhaps the interviewer is sick. Interviewers are people too and everyone has bad days. There are innumerable reasons why an interviewer may have been in a bad mood .something that will make the interviewer feel good.. for no reason. Just do the best you can and try not to worry about things you can't control. Better to keep your compliment simple and safe.. an attitude many hiring managers seek in candidates. . the interviewer is just in a foul mood. Perhaps the interviewer fought with his or her spouse that morning. Giving a compliment about the company is especially useful.

Others make too much." Negative Signs The successful candidate should also know what signs to avoid. It gives connotations of submissiveness. nonverbal communication -or. Nonverbal communication experts warn against showing too much expression during interviews. You've already made your first mistake. Avoid Strong Expressions Interviews are not personality parades. The right amount. Director of the Center for Nonverbal Studies in Spokane. "Leaning back shows an attitude of being too relaxed.Interviewing With Body Language By Christopher Jones How long do you have to prove yourself in an interview? Half an hour? Fifteen minutes? University of Toledo researchers found that job seekers have under 30 seconds to make their mark on interviewers. body language -. For that. . These include: • • Hand behind the head: This is a universal sign that people are uncertain or annoyed." he adds." Givens suggests leaning about 10 degrees forward." Be Forward Thinking The interviewer offers you a chair." says Givens. according to experts. Givens suggests a "toothy smile. do not look down." says Givens. "The one caution I would give. Seeing Eye-to-Eye Some people make too little eye contact. "Leaning to the side can connote that you don't like the interviewer. "You want to show some positive emotion. Palm-down gestures: Avoid these signs as they are generally reserved for authority figures. "Make eye contact and periodically break away. but it has to be understated and conservative.is an essential part of any interview. Washington. The one exception is the handshake. lies somewhere in between. You sit down and lean back. Flashing power signs in an interview might hint at a power struggle." says David Givens. according to Givens. "is that when you break away. Since first impressions are sometimes made before job seekers even open their mouths. Always lean forward during a job interview.

" he advises against it for the job interview. but don't erupt into laughter on your own. Laughter: Feel free to laugh along with the interviewer.• • Tilting heads: While Givens acknowledges that this is a "great courtship signal. .

And remember: The interviewer isn't just evaluating WHAT you say." "ya know" and "ummm." The interviewer thinks: "Huh?" You don't need to use jargon to sound knowledgeable in an interview. Also. Read on for some interview "talking tips. But they're not very professional. don't assume the interviewer is familiar with the jargon. can help eliminate the need to use filler. Never use slang in an interview. That's when most people use "like. people often use a lot of fancy jargon when they want to disguise the fact that they aren't completely confident in what they're saying. Taking time to think about a question. the interviewer (who may not be as cool as you are) may have no idea what you're saying when you use slang." Skip the 'Filler' When an interviewer asks a question. Don't Jargon Your Way Out of a Job You say: "Our value proposition is to create synergy while leveraging our respective ROIs. as many interviewers will tell you. but also HOW you say it. Or. That means you must sound polished and professional. after you start speaking. Why Slang Is 'Way Bad' Here's the 411 on slang in interviews. Like any habit. this one will take time to break. First. perhaps you realize you're not sure what you want to say and need to stall. She's asking herself: Are you well-spoken? Do you sound polished and professional? Are your answers clear and concise? If you've spent all of your time working on the content of your answers. you may feel like you should fill the silence right away. You should speak to an interviewer just as you would to a business colleague or even a boss. you now need to focus on the delivery.What Not to Say in an Interview By Erin Hovanec An interview can be incredibly stressful: You often have only a few minutes to show an interviewer how capable. So start practicing before you have an actual interview. Also. So speak simply and coherently and your intelligence should speak for itself." These words are common in many people's vocabularies. They're simply verbal filler that we've become accustomed to using. confident and intelligent you are. rather than rushing to answer. .

confident and engaged. wait for her to finish speaking. you won't have time to think about your answer before you start speaking. Don't Answer Before You've Been Asked You want to make a good impression on an interviewer. You want to seem knowledgeable. you jump on it. . Instead. right? Wrong. First. So when the interviewer starts to ask you a question. you may incorrectly assume that you know what the interviewer was going to ask and answer the wrong question. And. You'll appear calm. Second. confident and polite. Then answer the question. after taking a moment to think. which can lead to lots of mid-sentence "ummms" to stall for time. There's simply no place for it. EVER. especially if you're nervous. then take a deep breath and collect your thoughts. it's rude to interrupt. it's tempting to answer quickly.Last. never. you'll probably give a much better answer too. Third. Don't. When an interviewer asks a question. use profanity in an interview.

open-ended questions. For example. Before you go into any interview. Perhaps 40 million of them are under 16. Be a Communicator No matter how big your brain is. Glossophobia -. Recall the main goal of each task. experiences and achievements.is the most common phobia in the U.S.especially public speaking skills. For instance.. to handling crises. you should have a list of at least 10 examples of how you solved a problem effectively. it'll likely go unnoticed unless you are able to communicate your thoughts to others. and perhaps another 40 million don't have driver's licenses. For instance: Are you team-oriented? Can you solve problems creatively? Can you communicate ideas effectively? These are generally referred to as "soft skills. creatively and cheaply. So there are 190 million people who are eligible to own cars . there are about 270 million people in the United States. That's why employers are always on the lookout for candidates who don't curl into the fetal . " And you continue until you reach a final answer. they will likely ask you some direct. Most interviewers. This is why so many job postings ask for candidates with strong communication skills -. From cutting budgets." qualities that employers always seek. Having this list handy will allow you to respond to any question quickly and confidently. how you solved it. "How many blue cars are there in the United States?" The interviewer will then want to hear how you'd go about reaching an answer. "Tell me about a time when you faced a tough problem. How did you solve it?" The way to ace these questions is simple: Preparation. Are you beginning to sweat already? You're not alone. Some interviewers may ask tricky questions directed at gauging your problem-solving skills.Showing Off Your Soft Skills By Todd Anten Your resume is already jam-packed with facts about your skills. to meeting seemingly impossible deadlines. Rather. What more does an employer need to know? A lot. do not play these Jedi mind games with candidates. Problem-solving skills are widely valued in the business world and companies are on the lookout for candidates who can solve problems quickly.. thankfully. You might say: "Well. Be a Problem Solver Remember those awful word problems you had to solve in fourth-grade math class? Good news: It wasn't a waste of time. just about every job will eventually ask you to play Sherlock Holmes. And the perfect place to display your numerous soft skills is in an interview. The accuracy of the number is as not important as demonstrating to the interviewer how you'd go about tackling a tough question.the fear of public speaking -. why you chose to solve it that way and what it reveals about you.

instead of panicking. sat on a committee. are more complex." "wanna"). remember the breath mint! Be a Groupie In his book Working With Emotional Intelligence. try some of these tips: • • • • • • • Practice describing your last job in under two minutes. however.g.that's interviewing gold! It also couldn't hurt to mention if you previously coordinated with other departments. Be a Multi-Tasker In an ant colony. Consider the unique additions you brought to the group.position every time they must speak out loud.how well you can "read" other people's emotions and feelings in the workplace. show a willingness to handle all kinds of responsibilities. And if you have ever solved a group conflict at a past job. Try to stay away from lazy language (e. Have a friend ask you questions that you expect to encounter in an interview. being a strong group worker can be an invaluable selling point during your job search. and one way to do this is to hire employees who are able to simultaneously perform a variety of separate tasks at the same time. Businesses want to save money. Being a good group worker involves more than putting in your required share of the work. If you find yourself getting nervous. Practice in front of a mirror. This highly desirable trait is commonly known as "multi-tasking. Remember to look directly at the interviewer as you speak. knowing when to make your opinions known. And because most companies have more than one person working there. Remember to answer clearly and slowly. just ask the interviewer to elaborate. To emphasize your group skills in an interview. task for the majority of its life. "gonna. a digger -. experience or skills that make you successful. a queen.and workers who show a desire to branch out of their pigeonholed roles are the kind that get promoted. it is your emotional intelligence -. If you do not understand a question. Not only will this display your enthusiasm.. If asked to discuss a past project. a forager.each ant only has one job on its tiny insect mind.they signal your interest in getting information from others. A soldier. During the interview. To emphasize your communication skills during an interview. . Human workplaces. each ant performs one. One of the best indicators of strong emotional intelligence is the ability to work well with others on a team." To display your ability to multi-task: • • • Make a list of complex projects you handled in past jobs and write down the various tasks that it involved. Daniel Goleman posits that it is not your intellect. and be prepared to discuss those special talents. give specific examples of how you were able to balance several crucial tasks. but not least. it also involves being a leader when necessary. Last. but it will also suggest that you are interested in taking an active role at the company -. and only one. knowing when to defer to others and moving the group towards the optimal result with minimal conflict. be sure to note that as well -. make a list of projects that you have worked on with past coworkers. or hold any memberships in professional associations -. just take a deep breath and relax your shoulders. rather. not just a select one or two.


Next. typed or handwritten. wait until the interview is almost over and make one powerful statement about the company. If you're more comfortable being passive. Next. that includes additional innovative ideas you have to help the organization grow. This requires a mix of courage and tact without even a hint of desperation. ask for it. Respond enthusiastically and carefully with ways in which your particular skills will fulfill those needs. For the boldest job seeker. Then simply ask for the offer -. You can employ any one of three approaches. your work has just begun.and hold your breath. share a few of those well thought out ideas you formulated prior to the interview. Follow Up Like a Pro A great interview could yield a job offer in the days immediately following if you know how to follow up like a professional.extensively. Beyond deciding which suit to wear or how to ensure an on-time arrival. . You're landing interviews.at least overtly. make a personal phone call thanking your interviewer for her time. Visit your local library and dig deeper into the company and industry's history. How do they fit with the position for which you're interviewing? What unique abilities can you offer this company that they are currently lacking? Create a list of well thought out ideas as to how you will help the company grow. if she is unavailable.How to Turn Interviews Into Job Offers By Caroline Levchuck You're responding to job listings on HotJobs.and its competition -. simply let your skills "soft sell" themselves. Instead. send a written letter. Talk about things you are excited about doing after you start working there. Ask your interviewer powerful questions about the company and its needs regarding the position for which you're interviewing. You're getting calls. evaluate your abilities and experience as well as your creative problem-solving skills. simply speak as though you will get the job. Ask Not What the Company Can Do For You Once you are in an interview. job seekers must research a company -. But the process always seems to stop there. First. the position and your qualifications. send an email. Asking an employer an either-or question around this could give you a start date even before you have a formal offer. You may also wish to ask when you should start work: Next week or the week after. forget all the advice you've heard about selling yourself to a potential employer -. Ask for the Offer That's right: If you want the job. perform better or simply sell more widgets. Near the close of the interview. Listen carefully and try to hear what she is really telling you. Use Yahoo! and Yahoo! News to get the latest news. Your interviewer is sure to find your diligence and honest insights impressive as long as you avoid being critical of the company. So what gives? What qualities does your resume have that you're lacking in interviews? Be Prepared With a Plan Once a potential employer arranges a job interview.

Also.Include files or documentation -. ask when the company anticipates making a decision. Always be sure to be polite and professional. call your interviewer or hiring manager again to express your enthusiasm for the position.anything that will convey how serious you are about contributing to this company's success. Wait patiently until that time comes and call once more a day or two after the deadline to make another inquiry. . If you don't get a response to any of your communications within a week.

And you certainly don't want your boss to resent you before you've even started work. Really. you may already have some decent skills. Trade off more traditional perks for benefits in areas where a company is often able to be more flexible.one that needs to be practiced. evaluate your negotiating skills. Are you comfortable haggling over the price of a car with the salesperson? How skilled were you at asking for raises at your last company? If you've negotiated successfully before. Consult business magazines or head straight for the bookstore. Whatever your goals are. Start by figuring out what salary and benefits you can and cannot live with. First. you might want to find a friend who will role play with you to practice your job offer negotiation. Perhaps you want three weeks of vacation rather than two. flex time or an abbreviated summer work schedule. if you're someone who always pays sticker price or who's never asked for a raise. let alone receive an actual job offer.instead of on winning -. The trick is knowing when to stop. But it's usually smart to negotiate the terms of a job offer. read up on negotiating for tips and tactics. Next.you'll know when it's the right time to accept a job offer. Also. First. make achieving them the priority in your negotiation. Do Your Research Negotiating is an art -. Know Your Bottom Line Negotiating isn't necessarily about winning at all costs. You want to feel as though you've explored all your options. Be Creative Look beyond just salary when negotiating your job offer. Maybe you need the option to telecommute occasionally. . You also risk alienating your future boss. job seekers sometimes think that they're lucky to land an interview.even after you've gotten a fair job offer -. Don't Get Greedy Quit while you're ahead. If you continue to negotiate for the sake of negotiating -. such as tuition reimbursement. a company could simply end negotiations and present you with an ultimatum. It's about agreeing on terms of a job offer that will satisfy you.you may end up hurting yourself. Knowing that will make you feel more comfortable ending negotiations and making a final decision about the job offer.The Art of Negotiating By Caroline Levchuck In a competitive job market. By keeping your focus on your goals -.

easiest strategies in creating a favorable environment for yourself wherever you go. If you like it. Saying thanks is one of the least expensive. well-written thankyou notes can foster professional success in unimaginable ways. Keep in mind that several people spent time setting up the appointment. Thanks so much for your time and for the congenial interview. it is a popular and benign way of reminding the reader of the purpose of your note. A few letter-writing experts dislike the "thanks again" that concludes so many thank-you letters and notes. The point of a thank-you note is that it is personal and somewhat formal. Emphasize briefly and specifically your suitability for the job. 5.handwritten on fold-over note cards. Harvey Mackay.for a little warmer tone -. 3. and doing the paperwork again. People are so charmed to receive thank-you notes at all that they are seldom very critical. Mention any issue that you didn't have the opportunity to discuss.or notes of appreciation." says. 1. don't worry about being creative or clever or profound. If you felt you had a particularly friendly interview. and I was impressed by the team spirit among the other employees I met. The Mechanics Thank-you notes should be printed on letterhead stationery or personal-business stationery. then it's definitely the way to go. it's not as impressive.Two Words To Boost Your Career: Thank You By Rosalie Maggio Beginning with the "thank you" for your first job interview and ending with the "thank you" for your retirement party. Other Factors To Consider You can email your thanks. or -. you might close with a sentence or two referring to something you talked about unrelated to the interview (like sports. you'll want to send thank-you notes -. Address concerns about your qualifications that came up during the interview. your new boss. your career can benefit enormously from simple notes of gratitude written along the way. 2. Frequent. and they are especially important after a job interview. You can simplify the process by sending an email thank-you message (more on this later). State what you liked about the interview. founder and chairman of the Mackay Envelope Corporation and bestselling author of "Swim with the Sharks (Without Being Eaten Alive). However. interviewing you. I was pleased to know that my advanced degree is definitely an asset. and anyone else you dealt with throughout the interview process. doing the paperwork. Once you're hired. the company. Write a note immediately after the interview and before a decision has been made. which is not as distinctive as a handwritten note but far better than no message at all. common interests. but in most cases. "Anyone too busy to say 'thank you' will get fewer and fewer chances to . and the position. As you're writing. But primarily say thanks. A Sample Note A sample thank-you note for a job interview might look like this: I enjoyed this morning's discussion of the research position you want to fill.to the interviewers. "Thank you very much" are words that everyone likes to read. use it. After the Job Interview An essential job-seeking technique as well as a gesture of courtesy is to thank the people who interview you. They'll appreciate a little recognition. 4. or family). which is almost the same thing -. if the company you're interviewing with tends to do business by email and if most of your contacts have been through email. However.

" ." Rosalie Maggio is the author of "How to Say It" and "The Art of Talking to Anyone.say it.

What to Expect From a Background Check By Caroline Levchuck Worried that a job search will reveal more than you expected? Pre-employment background screening is common today for employees from tech workers to teachers. And it is your prerogative to say "no. But don't start shaking in your boots just yet. How Deep Do They Dig? A potential employer wants to conduct a background check. you should realize that failing to allow the check has risks. And just because you're already employed doesn't mean that you're immune. Some employers even require background checks for temporary workers. Employers can also perform retroactive background checks on current employees. while current employers may allow you to dispute the inaccuracy. you may be asked to submit to a pre-employment background check. Potential or even current employers can't conduct a background check without your written authorization. Incorrect information can prevent you from getting a job. It may also review sex offender databases. The check often includes driving records and vehicle registrations." However. Regardless of the position you're applying for. And more employers are verifying candidates' education and degrees as resume fraud becomes more frequent. if you refuse to allow a current employer to do a check. Employers sometimes assume that good credit means you've kept your promises and are responsible with money. Or. you'll eliminate yourself from consideration for the job. In many cases. an employer must share the results with you upon your request. An employer will decide how far back into your history to check.but they do happen. You also have the right to dispute the findings if you think they're incorrect. And the consequences can be devastating. Should you be worried? And what exactly are they looking for? Typically." Advice and Consent To submit to a background check is your decision. Honest Mistakes Mistakes aren't commonplace in background checks -. If you agree to a background check. Potential employers are often likely to discount you immediately if your background check uncovers an issue. you could lose the job you have. Not all companies conduct background checks in the same way. And many employers are more cautious and thorough than ever when hiring. . a background check reviews criminal and court records. Credit checks are increasingly common too. They'll also determine which offenses might make you "unhirable.

And you don't want to lose it due to a background check. you work hard to get a job offer. And. Some places.What type of errors are most common? The person conducing the check can enter your social security number incorrectly. Check Yourself Out Don't be surprised by the results of a background check. State or county practices can hurt you too. That could raise a red flag in a background check. You should also review your credit report annually with all three major reporting agencies. Or they can confuse you with another person who has a similar name. you can request a copy of your driving record from your local Department of Motor Vehicles. a courthouse can fail to correct a file to indicate that your record has been expunged of an offense. Last. for example. record a failure to pay a traffic violation as a probation violation. But don't panic yet. Have a check done on yourself if you're concerned about incorrect information or what potential employers might find. You can find instructions on how to get a report and correct errors here. From writing your resume to interviewing to negotiating. .

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